Dublin was founded as a Viking settlement in 1191 and expanded to become the capital of the Republic of Ireland. Dublin is best explored on foot from the cobblestoned streets and the Georgian squares to the shining new Docklands area. We stayed at the Westbury Hotel on beautiful Grafton Street which is one of the two principal shopping streets in the city. Since pubs are an integral part of Irish culture, we had to visit a few here at the capital. :)
Temple Bar is an area of narrow streets where penniless aritists used to live. Now this area in the center of town has become a trendy mix of restaurants, galleries, pubs, and boutiques. A night out at the pubs is probably the city’s favorite pastime and also the best way to experience Dublin.
The next morning we headed for an Irish breakfast near Trinity College before our 11am appointment to see the Book of Kells. The Book of Kells consists of four Gospels handcrafted by medieval Celtic monks over 1,200 years ago and is not only considered Ireland’s most precious medieval artifact, but also one of the finest surviving illuminated manuscripts from medieval Europe. The Book of Kells is housed in the Old Library where a new page is turned everyday so the public can admire the amazing detail. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed when viewing the Book of Kells. Make sure you book online for tickets to zip right in or else be ready to stand in line for up to an hour. Also they don’t seem too fussed about the time you booked online. We were about 20 mins early and they just waved us in. The room housing the Book of Kells leads to the Long Room of the Old Library which is not to be missed for some nice photographs. It reminds me of the library at Hogwarts in Harry Potter, though it was based on a library in Cambridge, afterall Trinity College is modelled on Oxford and Cambridge.
One of the landmarks in Dublin is St. Patrick’s Cathedral which is Ireland largest church with a 43-meter high spire. It was said that this is the place where St. Patrick himself baptised the local Celtic chieftains.
Guinness is synonymous with Ireland so no visit here is complete without a stop at the Guinness Storehouse. Located in St. James’s Gate, this production site has been home to Guinness Brewery since 1759. The building is a glass atrium made of seven floors in the shape of a pint of Guinness. Each floor tells part of the brewing process ending at the Gravity Bar on the 7th floor where we can all enjoy our very own pint with a panoramic view of Dublin.
From Dublin, we fly to County Kerry where we rented a car and began our week-long drive through the most beautiful parts of southwestern Ireland. Stay tuned!
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